Yours in the Dharma:  Essays from a Buddhist perspective by Sandy Garson

This blog, Yours in the Dharma by Sandy Garson, is an effort to navigate life between the fast track and the breakdown lane, on the Buddhist path. It tries to use a heritage of precious, ancient teachings to steer clear of today's pain and confusion to clear the path to what's truly happening.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Columbus Day Discovery

What can you say when at the start of a workweek, Barack Obama turns his back to His Holiness the Dalai Lama after inviting him to the White House—the first President to renege like that? And then at the end of the week, he wins the Nobel Peace Prize? Could you say here is a man of principal, our American principal, a man standing on all of it, even if the United States of America has no principal left, just a lot of interest in keeping the Chinese from cashing out our one trillion dollars of debt? Is that what our elected representative who had His Holiness’ khata in his pocket when he took the oath of office really represented? Peacekeeping the profits of our Chinese overlords?

What can you say when the President of the United States wins the Nobel Peace Prize merely because he represented the American people’s hope for more peace of mind, and some American people attack him with verbal smart bombs? We used to say attacking your own country is treason, and treason is a crime. What can you say now that it is very lucrative entertainment and powerful political strategy? Tilopa would say seeing others faults is the basis of Samsara.

What can you say when the operative aspiration of the Chinese Communist Republic and the ultra capitalistic Goldman Sachs Republicans turns out to be one and the same motto: ‘to get rich is glorious’? “Capitalism is the exploitation of one man by another,” the son of the founder of Italy’s Communist Party said to me during a press junket many years ago. “Communism is the exploitation of one man by another with a different name.” Oh say, can you see if our flag, the symbol of democracy, is still there?

What can you say when the giant corporations who cannot afford a liver transplant for a dying 22-year-old woman or heart surgery for a 27-year-old Montana family man have enough money to pay for a quarter of a million dollar South Dakota employees’ whoopee weekend in southern California, five million in annual salary to keep Wellpoint’s CEO well on point, and another million dollars a day for lobbyists to protect their godlike monopoly on human life in America? What can you say when killing people in cold blood is supposed to be a heinous crime, but turns out to be a perfectly acceptable American business plan?

What can you say when you see the people you elected to represent you don’t want to. Olympia Snowe represents the state of Maine where 70% of voters want public health care but she won't vote even a shrug for it. What can you say when the money you pay through your taxes pays these people to stand in and stand up for you but you get taxation without representation?

What do you say because what you pay people to take care of you is dwarfed to insignificance by the money from their pimps, the insurance companies and oil or coal companies, who pay up to a million dollars a senator for them to screw you for the pipsqueak money you paid? What can you say knowing that lavishly dispersed money was actually your money, and that it did not go to buy you as it was supposed to, but rather to deny you medical attention? Or get the planet Earth the health care it needs so badly too?

What can you say when the paper of record reports the one fashion designer who for two decades made millions of fanatic fans and billions of dollars by making what the Times called "moderately affluent" women over 50 look easily elegant and stylish has decided more money's in the Bebe skintight younger crowd and so has abandoned fuller figures for some illusive piece prize? Can you say it's like Obama turning his back to His Holiness and Congress turning its back to the American people? Can you say it's going for the gold? Or should you say His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the American people and women over fifty are so, so...well, so yesterday. And as we all know America's favorite song says: tomorrow, tomorrow, we love you tomorrow...

What can you say at when, as we celebrate Columbus Day, we have discovered a new world like nothing we’ve ever seen? What can you say about a nation created to form a more more perfect union that has chosen to come apart at the seems?

Maybe the answer is blowing in the wind that brought such fog and chill to San Francisco, the Blue Angels couldn't shatter the peace some prize on a holiday weekend.

I can only say this week brought news that a sangha in San Rafael, California is busily trying to raise money to provide clean toilets and drinking water for the villagers of holy Bodh Gaya. Thrangu Rinpoche’s Canadian sangha said they want to help raise awareness of and thus money for the Veggiyana project feeding monks and nuns nutritious food so they can perform their duties in good health. Two Buddhists wrote from Maine they were going on pilgrimage with Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche and would like to be of benefit afterwards by volunteering to help perhaps the schoolchildren or nuns in Kathmandu. And Lopon Neten Dorje who safely returned this week from his museum stint in San Francisco to his monastery in Thimpu, Bhutan, wrote in his scant English: “You are so kind to the poor monks and nuns. Please keep it up.”

What my Brazilian correspondent who sends Buddhist homilies said this week came from the late Bokar Rinpoche: “Like birds landing on a tree top together, and then dispersing, we are together for a very short time. So it makes sense to live in harmony, in unconditional friendship.” Let's all say: svaha.

~Sandy Garson
"Wordsmithing to attest how the Dharma saved me from myself!"

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